Saturday, August 20, 2016

Materialism and "Self-Reliance"

This week the phrase "enough and to spare" has been rolling around my mind as we evaluate the monthly allotments  that our branch builders work with each month.  A conversation with a young elder about dealing with roommates who want to eat your food, that evolved into a discussion of seeing one's funds as not only an opportunity to support yourself, but also the empowerment to plan acts of thought-out generosity within one's budget has made me think about our own attitudes about the income we have.

"Self-Reliance" is, in my opinion, an inaccurate term used in the church to denote the state of being careful and knowledgeable and wise and humble and hardworking enough to work hand in hand with God as you seek to support yourself and your family.  It's not really just reliance on yourself.  It's working with God.

The principles taught in the "Self-Reliance" course here are very helpful in all of the above qualities of "self-reliance".

There is, however, as we consider the notion of "self-reliance",  a way of viewing our financial situation that we are all susceptible to falling into and that can lead to 1) very foolish decisions and 2) pride and selfishness, and seeking increasing acquisition as the measure of our competency.  It is the sin of materialism.

This quote by Dallin H. Oaks, from his book "Pure in Heart" is one I wish to refer to as I re-evaluate my own stewardship of my abundance.

"Men and women who have heard and taken to heart the scriptural warnings against materialism should not be vulnerable to the deceitfulness of riches and the extravagant blandishments of its promoters . . . 

"If Latter-day Saints are specially susceptible to materialism, this may be because materialism is a corruption of a virtue in which Latter-day Saints take special pride. Materialism is a seductive distortion of self-reliance. The corruption occurs through carrying the virture of 'providing for our own' to the point of excess concern with accumulating treasures of the earth."

And, frankly, I have accumulated more stuff than I need.  As I said...good for me to refer to.

Friday, August 05, 2016

What Ellie Wrote about Married Love

"And who knew: staying in love is actually the same thing as growing up. To stay married means to shed the illusions of romantic love and replace them with the reality of two damaged (as we all are in some way or another) human beings trying to care for each other and to learn to love, rather than seek to recapture the early childhood paradise of being completely cared for and accepted unconditionally. Love involves two people constantly stepping on each other's emotional toes and finding a way to forgive each other, continually, year after year. It means learning to tolerate failure in oneself and the other, to be disappointed, to realize that a life can be merely ordinary and yet take great courage to live...

"[And] along with tolerating a lot of frustration, maturity [growing up] means embracing those moments of happiness wholeheartedly, recognizing how precious they are. Happiness is not a goal but when it comes,...allow it its sway. "